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ECUADOR: Milpe, Tandayapa, and Quito

07 - 11 July 2010

by Connie Nelson

Wednesday,  July 7:

Jose (with San Jorge Eco Lodges) picked me up at the airport and we had a wonderful drive up the hill overlooking Quito.  My room was very comfortable with a large window overlooking the feeders – no idea yet what birds I am seeing.  Dinner at 7 pm – food was very good. Ice cream for dessert ! 

Thursday, July 8:

Woke up feeling the altitude – feeling pretty ill.  Water is the answer – drink drink drink. Coca tea also helps.  Met Jorge, our birding guide, who is also the owner of the lodges. Very knowledgeable and very comfortable. We saw so many birds without the use of tapes.  Jorge knows their calls and is very good at spotting them.  We birded the property around the lodge and then drove to a nearby park in search of the Giant Hummingbird.  No luck but a good try. Back to the lodge for a wonderful lunch and a short rest.  Off again driving higher and higher on a dirt road. We stopped and walked about three miles round trip finding wonderful birds along the way.  At the end we came to a variety of hummingbird feeders and the most amazing hummingbirds everywhere.  Too soon we had to leave as it was getting dark.  Stopped to enjoy a most beautiful sunset along the way.

Friday, July 9:

Left the lodge in Quito and headed for the lodge at Tandayapa, which is in the cloud forest.  We stopped in the little town of Nono and had a most wonderful time.  A beautiful central plaza and wonderfully friendly people.  As the rain was coming, we drove past the lodge and on to a nearby lodge to enjoy their hummingbird feeders. More amazing b irds. Back to our lodge where we were dropped off at the bottom entrance.  Our bags were picked up by someone and we walked up and up to the lodge.  Rather than destroying the forest for a road, Jorge chose to have his visitors walk and enjoy the forest as a most wonderful entrance to Tandayapa.  It is a bit strenuous but  nothing that any active birder can’t handle and many opportunities to stop and rest if needed.  It is impossible not to gasp and smile when walking into your room.  So very comfortable with a huge picture window covering the entire side of the room looking out into the forest.  None of us wanted to leave our rooms.  We got together for a short walk and sat on a bench while Jorge talked about the history and ecology of the area.  Dinner was at 7:30 and the food was wonderful.  Jorge’s wife has trained as a chef and oversees the cooks at all the lodges.  After dinner we went for a night walk and enjoyed the variety of moths that congregated around the path lights. 

Saturday, July 10:

We met early and enjoyed a particular tree where the moths seem to congregate after their night.  The birds also know about this tree and we just checked off species after species, enjoying very good looks at all.  I had the morning to myself and enjoyed a walk around the property.  Jorge’s son, Jorge Jr., is also a birding guide and he showed me a great spot just before lunch where we saw many more species.  After lunch we walked down the hill again and off to the lodge at Milpe.  There are new rooms at Milpe that weren’t open yet, but the old lodge was wonderful.  More rustic than Tandayapa, but very comfortable.  A large deck overlooking the forest. 

Sunday,July 11:

My last day of birding and Jorge made the most of it.  We went on a wonderful morning hike and then back for breakfast. After breakfast we went on a longer hike with beautiful scenery and wonderful birds.  The location at Milpe is incredible – waterfalls, creeks and forest.  It’s warmer and a bit more humid than Tandayapa, but nothing like Sacha Lodge.  Much more comfortable. 

It was a most exciting and wonderful trip.  I hope to return someday and do it all again. The birds were incredible – 204 species in 4 ½ days at Quito, Tandayapa and Milpe:

Bird Trip List --  204 Species

Andean Guan
Cattle Egret
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Gray Hawk
Laughing Falcon
American Kestrel
Rock Pigeon
Pale-Vented Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Plumbeous Pigeon
Ruddy Pigeon
Eared Dove
Commong Ground-Dove
White-Tipped Dove
Pallid Dove
Maroon-Tailed Parakeet
Pacific Parrotlet
Rose-Faced Parrot
Blue-Headed Parrot
Bronze-winged Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Smooth-Billed Ani
Burrowing Owl
Short-Eared Owl
Band-Winged Nightjar
White-Collared Swift
Gray-Rumped Swift
White-whiskered Hermit
White-Necked Jacobin
Brown Violetear
Green Violetear
Sparkling Violetear
Green Thorntail
Green-Crowned Woodnymph
Andean Emerald
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Speckled Hummingbird
Green-crowned Brilliant
Shining Sunbeam
Mountain Velvetbreast
Buff-winged Starfrontlet
Sword-billed Hummingbird
Great Sapphirewing
Sapphire-vented Puffleg
Golden-breasted Puffleg
Purple-bibbed Whitetip
Booted Racket-tail
Black-tailed Trainbearer
Tyrian Metaltail
Purple-throated Woodstar
Purple-collared Woodstar
White-bellied Woodstar
Golden-headed Quetzal
Rufous Motmot
Broad-billed Motmot
Ringed Kingfisher
Red-headed Barbet
Crimson-rumped Toucanet
Collared Aracari
Choco Toucan
Olivaceous Piculet
Scarlet-backed woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Guayaquil Woodpecker
Tawny-throated Leaftosser
Pale-legged Hornero
Slaty Spinetail
Spotted Barbtail
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner
Lineated Foliage-gleaner
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner
Uniform Treehunter
Streaked Xenops
Plain-brown Woodcreeper
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Spotted Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Montane Woodcreeper
Red-billed Scythebill
Uniform Antshrike
Pacific Antwren
Dot-winged Antwren
Immaculate Antbird
Undulated Antpitta
Unicolored Tapaculo
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
White-banded Tyrannulet
Tufted Tit-Tyrant
White-crested Elaenia
Olive-striped Flycatcher
Sooty-headed Tyrannulet
Golden-faced Tyrannulet
Common Tody-Flycatcher
White-throated Spadebill
Tawny-breasted Flycatcher
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher
Flavescent Flycatcher
Smoke-colored Pewee
Black Phoebe
Vermilion Flycatcher
Streak-throated bush-Tyrant
Masked Water-Tyrant
Long-tailed Tyrant
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Rusty-Margined Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Golden-crowned Flycatcher
Snowy-throated Kingbird
Tropical Kingbird
Black-chested Fruiteater
Olivaceous Piha
Golden-winged Manakin
Masked Tityra
Slaty Becard
Cinnamon Becard
One-colored Becard
Brown-capped Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue-and-white Swallow
Brown-bellied Swallow
White-thighed Swallow
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Band-backed Wren
Rufous Wren
Bay Wren
House Wren
Gray-breasted Wood-wren
Tawny-faced Gnatwren
Tropical Gnatcatcher
White-capped Dipper
Spotted Nightingale-Thrush
Ecuadorian Thrush
Great Thrush
Glossy-black Thrush
Tropical Mockingbird
Tropical Parula
Slate-throated Redstart
Spectacled Redstart
Golden-bellied Warbler
Black-crested Warbler
Three-striped Warbler
Superciliaried Hemispingus
Rufous-Chested Tanager
Cinereous Conebill
Dusky Bush-Tanager
Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager
White-shouldered Tanager
White-lined Tanager
Flame-rumped Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Blue-capped Tanager
Blue-and-Yellow Tanager
Black-chested Mountain-Tanager
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager
Golden Tanager
Silver-throated Tanager
Flame-faced Tanager
Rufous-throated Tanager
Scrub Tanager
Golden-naped Tanager
Mettalic-green Tanager
Blue-necked Tanager
Beryl-spangled Tanager
Black-faced Dacnis
Green Honeycreeper
Purple Honeycreeper
Swallow Tanager
Buff-throated Saltator
Black-winged Saltator
Blue-black Grassquit
Variable Seedeater
Yellow-bellied Seedeater
Plain-colored Seedeater
Paramo Seedeater
Dull-colored Grassquit
Glossy Flowerpiercer
Black Flowerpiercer
White-sided Flowerpiercer
Masked Flowerpiercer
White-winged Brush Finch
Rufous-naped Brush Finch
Orange-billed Sparrow
Black-striped Sparrow
Rufous-collared Sparrow
White-winged Tanager
Ochre-breasted Tanager
Golden-bellied Grosbeak
Scrub Blackbird
Shiny Cowbird
Thick-billed Euphonia
Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia
Yellow-bellied Siskin
Hooded Siskin

Connie Nelson

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